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Jesus’ Unrelenting Love of Family

Updated on December 25, 2021

“This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.” ~ Mark 7:6-10

In today’s Gospel (Mark 7:1-13) we once again encounter the scribes and Pharisees opting to toil in matters pertaining to the law versus that which is cultivated in the heart. As was so often the case, Jesus sought to help the Pharisees to identify that which was lacking in their approach to following the Law of Moses.

Their purification traditions were merely hollow gestures against the backdrop of their hardened hearts. “You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition” Jesus tells them in admonishing fashion. The example he then chooses to make his point speaks volumes:

“How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die. Yet you say, “If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is dedicated to God”’ you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.”

This passage sheds light on just how much Jesus loved family life and that special bond that all family members share among themselves. It is a critical covenant, part of the very fabric of God’s creation, of which we revisited in part (days 5-7 to be exact) in today’s 1st Reading (Genesis 1:20-2:4). Want further proof of how vital the familial structure is? Look at how hard Satan is working to destroy that bond, whether it be through abortion, “no hassle” divorce, websites that cater to married individuals seeking back door hook-ups, a never-ending obsession with the Hollywood Culture, wherein celebrities having children out of wedlock, divorce on demand and other made-for-tabloid indiscretions are as commonplace as the air we breathe.

Family is central to God’s divine plan for us. Jesus himself was born into a human family so that he too could experience this familial love as we his most beloved creations encounter it. We must work hard to strengthen our families, be patient through the difficulties and pray, pray, pray for each other. These relationships are to be treasured for they are precious. Difficult at times yes, but precious nonetheless, and always worth fighting for. We must always look for ways to strengthen the bonds within our homes. Ask the Holy Spirit for this vital gift of wisdom.

May we always make it our utmost priority to protect and nurture our family relationships.

Heavenly Father, you have given us the model of life in the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Help us, O Loving Father, to make our family another Nazareth where love, peace and joy reign. May it be deeply contemplative,
intensely eucharistic, revived with joy. Help us to stay together in joy and sorrow in family prayer. Teach us to see Jesus in the members of our families, especially in their distressing disguise. May the eucharistic heart of Jesus
make our hearts humble like his and help us to carry out our family duties in a holy way.
” ~ Amen

(Prayer written by Saint Teresa of Calcutta)

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